Nagpur: Bowing to the intense pressure from all quarters, the Central Railway has started operating the passenger-friendly battery-operated golf carts at Nagpur Railway Station specifically in the service of senior citizens, Divyang (disabled persons) and the sick persons, again.
Two battery-operated golf carts (cars) were being run by a social organisation ‘Nagpur Citizen Concern’ with the permission of Central Railway. However, the newly-appointed Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) B K Gupta, soon after assuming the post, had banned the operation of the cars over safety concerns. The Central Railway authorities had suggested some safety measures/changes for running of the cars. However, no initiative was undertaken to implement the suggestions forcing the authorities to ban the battery-operated cars at railway station. It was only after the cars were banned, the necessary safety measures/changes were undertaken by the concerned organisation.
A 3-member official committee was also set up to inspect the cars. The committee carried out a detailed inspection of the brakes of the two cars while ascending and descending Foot Overbridge (FOB), headlights and the eligibility of drivers operating them. The committee, after the inspection, suggested a few safety measures such as speed-limit locks, drip water hangers for sick persons, regular health check-up of drivers, etc. The operator of the two cars was also strictly told not to cross the tracks.
The committee later submitted its report to DRM. After satisfying with safety measures as suggested by the committee, the DRM accorded his permission to operate the battery-operated cars at Railway Station but only the two inspected and upgraded cars. The Central Railway Administration will carry out the inspection of the two cars every three months.
Notably, the banning of the two battery-operated cars at the Nagpur Railway Station had triggered strong protests from all quarters. On the issue of golf carts, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) BK Gupta had said he was ready to allow the battery operated cars to ferry senior citizens subject to certain modifications. “We discussed the issue with NGOs and officials concerned and suggested 4-5 technical safety tools to be fitted to the golf carts to sustain steep ramps at the stations. The NGOs too agreed and once the golf carts are upgraded, I have no problem in restarting them,” Gupta said.
Gupta, who took over on April 25, had discontinued these carts due to safety issues. However, the decision led to protests from Vidarbha Taxpayers Association (VTA), followed by passengers welfare organizations and several other organisations.